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Chain smoking whisky drinker celebrates 100th birthday

September 24th, 2010
A lifelong chain-smoker has celebrated reaching his 100th birthday – despite puffing his way through nearly 300,000 fags.
Hard-living Arthur Langran has smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day since the age of 20.
The father-of-two also religiously drinks a dram of Macallan single malt Scotch whiskey every evening before getting into bed.
Arthur, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, even celebrated his 100th birthday drinking pints of ale at his local pub with friends and family.
He said: ”I always say the secret is doing things you’re not told to do.
”I have been smoking since I was 20 and I still enjoy it, and a pipe. I have a whiskey every night.
”I also like reading the papers and doing crosswords with the help of my son John.”
Arthur’s eldest son Peter, 62, revealed that doctors have told his father to keep smoking.
He added: ”Dad has smoked roll-ups since he was 20-years-old and more recently used a pipe.
”These days he rolls himself five or six a day but used to smoke more and has his pipe once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
”He has a small single malt whiskey every night. He’s been doing that ever since he was elderly.
”He’s had a tough old life. He was an orphan, had a terrible time living and working in Canada and was blown up by a grenade in the war.
”The doctor has said its not worth getting him to give up the cigarettes.
”He’s still in good health despite the smoking and still mobile and gets up stairs whenever he wants.”
Arthur was born an orphan and sent to Canada by National Children Homes when he was just 14 years old to work as a farmhand.
He returned to Britain in 1940 when he was 30-years-old so he could join the Army and fight Hitler and the Nazis in the Second World War.
It was also the same year that he smoked his first cigarette, shortly after signing up with the Suffolk Regiment.
After smoking ten cigarettes a day since then, Arthur’s fag tally adds up to 292,000 over eight decades.
He fought in Burma during the Second World War and spent 25 years in the armed forces reaching the rank Warrant Officer class two.
During the war he was hit by a grenade and 80 years later chunks of lead shrapnel from the explosive remain underneath his skin.
When he left he army he worked as a storeman at the army barracks in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, before joining the civil service.
For many years Arthur celebrated his birthday on September 8 but he discovered it was September 6 after applying for a birth certificate upon leaving the army.
He said: ”All those years I’d been having it on the eighth , then when they sent my certificate back it was on the sixth.”
Arthur celebrated his birthday at The George pub, in Hintlesham, Suffolk, which is run by his youngest son John, 57.
He was married to Ivy who sadly died in 2000.


Woman, 107, is ‘proof that a little of what you fancy does you good’
Dorothy Peel from Yorkshire, who has just celebrated her 107th birthday, claims a daily tipple is her secret to a long life.
By Laura Donnelly
03 Oct 2009
The widow says she is living proof that “a little of what you fancy does you good”.
Mrs Peel, who enjoys a glass of sherry before lunch, several tots of whisky and the occasional cigarette, was born in Alne in North Yorkshire in 1902.
Celebrating her 107th birthday this week with pink champagne, Mrs Peel, who now lives in a residential home in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, said she had cut down smoking after a warning from doctors, but still enjoyed the occasional cigarette.
She said: “So much for ‘smoking and drinking is not good for you’. I’m living proof that a little of what you fancy does you good.”
The widow, whose husband Frederick died in 1975, said she believes she looks younger than her age because she never had children.
“That’s probably why I look and feel so good,” she said.
The couple wed in 1956, when she was 54.
She puts her love of the good life down to husband giving her gin in an air raid shelter during World War Two.
Mrs Peel said: “He opened a bottle and I was hooked. Our passion was music, dancing the odd tipple”.
As she celebrated her birthday on Monday, with her friend Blanche Mannix, who is 105, Mrs Peel said: “I never dreamt I’d get to 107. I’m a cheeky character and I still enjoy the occasional cigarette”.
Sandie Turvey, who runs the residential home in which Mrs Peel has lived for more than five years said: “She’s fabulous and has an active mind”.
One of the widow’s regular visitors, Tom O’Hagan of the Society of St Vincent de Paul described Mrs Peel as wonderful company.
“Her memory is great and she still likes to do her crosswords,” he said.


World’s oldest man, WWI veteran dies
By DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press Writer Danica Kirka, Associated Press Writer
Jul 18,2009
LONDON – Only death could silence Henry Allingham.
He went to war as a teenager, helped keep flimsy aircraft flying, survived his wounds and came home from World War I to a long — very long — and fruitful life.
But only in his last years did he discover his true mission: to remind new generations of the sacrifices of the millions slaughtered in the trenches, killed in the air, or lost at sea in what Britons call the Great War.
Allingham, who was the world’s oldest man when he died Saturday at 113, attributed his remarkable longevity to “cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women.”
Jokes aside, he was a modest man who served as Britain’s conscience, reminding young people time and time again about the true cost of war.
“I want everyone to know,” he told The Associated Press during an interview in November. “They died for us.”
He was the last surviving original member of the Royal Air Force, which was formed in 1918. He made it a personal crusade to talk about a conflict that wiped out much of a generation. Though nearly blind, he would take the outstretched hands of visitors in both of his, gaze into the eyes of children, veterans and journalists and deliver a message he wanted them all to remember about those left on the battlefield.
“I don’t want to see them forgotten,” he would say quietly. “We were pals.”
Only a handful of World War I veterans remain of the estimated 68 million mobilized. There are no French veterans left alive; just one left now in Britain; and the last living American-born veteran is Frank Woodruff Buckles of Charles Town, West Virginia. The man believed to have been Germany’s last surviving soldier has also died.
“It’s the end of a era_ a very special and unique generation,” said Allingham’s friend, Dennis Goodwin. “The British people owe them a great deal of gratitude.”
Born June 6, 1896, during the reign of Queen Victoria, Allingham would later recall sitting on his grandfather’s shoulders waving a flag for King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902. Transportation was horse drawn, coal was the primary fuel, street lighting was gas and in the financial heart of London, there was same-day mail delivery.
But the world was changing fast. In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright flew an airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and in 1913, Henry Ford began making Model Ts on an assembly line in Michigan.
Allingham left school at 15 and was working in a car factory in east London when war broke out in 1914.
He spent the war’s first months refitting trucks for military use, but when his mother died in June 1915, he decided to join up after seeing a plane circling a reservoir in Essex, east of London.
“It was a captivating sight,” he wrote in his memoir. “Fascinated, I sat down on the grass verge to watch the aircraft. I decided that was for me.”
That chance encounter with an early flying machine was to change his life.
It was only a dozen years after the Wright brothers first put up their plane, and Britain’s air resources were primitive. Allingham and other valiant airmen set out from eastern England on motorized kites made with wood, linen and wire. They piled on clothes and smeared their faces in Vaseline, whale oil or engine grease to try to block the cold.
“To be honest, all the planes were so flimsy and unpredictable — as well as incapable of carrying large fuel loads — at the start of the war that both British and German pilots would immediately turn back rather than face each other in the skies if they did not enjoy height supremacy,” Allingham would later write. “But I remember getting back on the ground and just itching to take off again.”
As a mechanic, Allingham’s job was to maintain the rickety craft. He also flew as an observer on a biplane. At first, his weaponry consisted of a standard issue Lee Enfield .303 rifle — sometimes two. Parachutes weren’t issued.
He fought in the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of World War I. He served on the Western Front, by now armed with a machine gun. He was wounded in the arm by shrapnel during an attack on an aircraft depot, but survived.
After the war he worked at the Ford motor factory and raised two children with his wife, Dorothy. She died in 1970, and when his daughter Jean died in 2001, friends say he waited to die, too. His will to live was waning; his life seemed without a larger purpose.
That’s about the time he met Goodwin, a nursing home inspector who realized that veterans of Allingham’s generation were not getting the care they needed to address the trauma they had experienced at the Somme, Gallipoli and Ypres and the other blood-drenched World War I battlefields. Some veterans ached to return to the battlefields to pay their respects to their slain friends, and Goodwin found himself organizing trips to France for that purpose.
He encouraged Allingham to share his experiences and the veteran, even though he had passed the century mark, started talking to reporters and school groups, providing the connection to a lost generation some had forgotten. He found himself leading military parades. He was made an Officer of France’s Legion of Honor and received other honors.
He met Queen Elizabeth II and wrote his autobiography with help from Goodwin. It was called “Kitchener’s Last Volunteer,” a reference to Britain’s Minister for War who rallied men to the cause. Prince Charles wrote the introduction.
He grew accustomed to being one of the last ones standing. Last year, he joined Harry Patch, Britain’s last surviving World War I soldier, and the late Bill Stone, the country’s last sailor, in a ceremony at the Cenotaph war memorial near the houses of Parliament in London, to mark the 90th anniversary of the war’s end at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.
As the wreaths were being laid, Allingham pushed himself up out of his wheelchair to place his arrangement at the base of the memorial — refusing the help of an officer deployed at his side. He leaned forward and placed the red poppy wreath beside the others. Tears flowed.
Allingham remained outspoken until his death, pleading for peace and begging anyone who would listen to remember those who died.
“I think we need to make people aware that a few men gave all they had to give so that you could have a better world to live in,” he said. “We have to pray it never happens again.”
Goodwin said Allingham’s funeral will take place in Brighton. He is survived by five grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, 14 great-great grandchildren and one great-great-great grandchild.

John Mortimer: on fighting ill health
By John Naish of The Times Online
Feb. 16, 2008
Sir John Mortimer may be ailing but he tells John Naish why champagne, cigars and a blatant disregard for health warnings keep him fit for more
Sir John Mortimer, wheelchair-bound and coughing weakly, watches his buxom blonde assistant leave the room, then becomes brightly animated as he describes a recent cataract operation. The author, barrister and playwright best known for Rumpole of the Bailey describes his health as “pretty awful at the moment” and laughs ruefully into his jumper. But within his racked 84-year-old frame, the mischievous old spirit still burns, and holds an insouciant fascination for his current condition.
Mortimer has only hours previously returned from a speaking engagement in Dublin. He has also been travelling around Britain, watching the progress of his latest stage show, Legal Fictions, as it prepares for a London run. He’s about to start writing a piece for a Sunday newspaper, deadline the next day. It’s the sort of schedule that might exhaust a young man in good health.
But Mortimer’s busy days are further crowded by health appointments. “I have got to have another operation with a cataract. My eyes are not very good at all,” he says, removing his trademark Tweety Pie glasses and gazing myopically to one side. “I have a very nice eye surgeon. Three weeks ago I was lying on the couch, a nurse was holding my hand and he was digging my cataract. I said would he mind if I recited Othello’s final speech? He said, ‘Fine’.” Mortimer proceeds to repeat the speech, in a sibilant mumble, just to give me the idea. “Then my wonderful eye doctor retorted with a speech from Richard III, and we spent the entire operation quoting streams of Shakespeare.”
“Insist on a sparkling start to every day”
We are in the clutter-crowded writing room of Mortimer’s home in the Chiltern Hills, surrounded by pictures of his parents, children – including the actor, Emily – and grandchildren. Mortimer’s beloved barrister father built the house in the 1930s, when he was 9. But now, in estate agents’ parlance, it might benefit from some updating. In front of Mortimer, on the old desk designed by his Uncle Harold (a member of the Heals family), sit two glasses, from which he takes occasional, alternate sips. One contains a greyish fluid: Complan, a complete nutrition drink that doctors recommend to patients who can’t cope well with solid food. “I’m not very good at eating of late, so I’m on this stuff to keep me going,” he explains. The other glass holds Guinness.
Does he still hold to his sybaritic drinking habits? He smiles naughtily. “One of my weaknesses is that I like to start the day with a glass of champagne before breakfast. When I mentioned that on a radio show once, I was asked if I had taken counselling for it. But I’ve not been drunk for a long, long time. I should not even be drinking at all, really, because I have got a urine infection at the moment.” He waves a hand dismissively.
“We don’t want to talk about that, do we?”
We don’t. But I feel obliged to ask about the most obvious sign of his travails, his wheelchair. “Oh,” he says, with casually vague recollection. “I fell over. In the summer, when I was going out of the study door up the steps. I have always had something wrong with my leg, and have always walked with a stick. I fell over and did the whole business, broke my leg and my foot had to be turned around. But life in a wheelchair is not so dreadful. It can be a luxury when you’re travelling. I get whisked through any of the queues. Everyone else has to wait to have their passport checked.”
Despite this nigh-biblical visitation of serried physical misfortunes, Mortimer staunchly maintains his one-man stand against our culture’s increasing health-consciousness. By way of illustration he calls his young assistant to bring him a pack of cigars and a fresh ashtray. “Nonsmoking? I absolutely hate that,” he says wheezily. “I’m not particularly keen on smoking. I’m not particularly good at it. I used to smoke and then I gave it up, partly because I don’t like dirty ashtrays. But I forced myself to take it up again when the Government said it would ban smoking in public places.”
Don’t people complain? He shakes his head. “My second wife, Penny, smokes like a chimney. Both of my wives have smoked quite a lot. Nearly all of my children have been breast-fed by smoking people and they are all extremely healthy,” he smiles. But the clinical evidence? “There may be a link between smoking and lung cancer,” he says nonchalantly. “Anyway, actresses look so beautiful when smoking. There’s a bit in the film Now, Voyager with people blowing smoke at each other. Very beautiful.”
Physical culture gets similar short shrift. “I have never taken exercise,” he declares proudly. “At school I had to do sports, but I used to make sure I was always farthest away from the action.” Although he has written a murder story based in a health farm, he maintains: “I’ve never actually been to a health farm or spa. For the purposes of research I visited one, but certainly didn’t use the facilities.”
In fact, the whole world of health consciousness had best clear off, as far as he’s concerned.
“The Government is there only to make the trains run on time and to keep the drains clear. It has absolutely nothing to do with what people eat and smoke. It’s none of their business to stop people doing dangerous things. We won two world wars with people constantly smoking. They were given cigarettes in their rations. Mountain climbers, hunters and divers are entitled to endanger their lives. I can’t stand this Government of busy control freaks, it’s like being under a bossy matron.”
“You don’t go to school to scramble eggs”
“It’s a very dour and grey world under Brown,” he adds, chewing the end of his glasses. “The Sixties were a very relaxed period. They really were swinging. But even they were not as relaxed as during the war, when everyone slept with everyone else because you might be dead in the morning. It would be great if today’s government ministers concentrated on something important rather than what we eat. You go to school to enhance your mind, to learn poetry and Dickens and beauty, not how to cook scrambled egg.”
It’s the sort of opinion that plays well in the “world’s gorn mad” pages of the Daily Mail, so it’s no surprise that Mortimer (despite his professed lifelong support for the principles of the Labour Party) has an easy sideline in writing those very type of reactionary pieces. But his convictions are seriously held, if also mischievously expressed. “I think what happened is that the decline of religion meant that bossy people had to find other ways to make people uncomfortable and worried about things,” he says.
Has he no sense of religion? After all, many people consider such questions when nearing the end of their lives, if not least as an insurance policy. “No, not at all. I was never brought up to be religious by my parents. My father went blind after an accident and carried on working. I had the greatest respect for him for not turning to God.” So where did Mortimer bury him? “He got buried in the local church,” he replies, smiling broadly. “I appreciate Christianity for the culture and buildings and for the beautiful language. You can get the best parts of it without believing any of it. Christianity has conferred great blessings on the world. But the most dangerous thing in the world is the view that God is on your side. You’re absolutely lost.”
So what does he think will happen after death? “Nothing. Nothing at all,” he says with forensic finality. “My father used to say that the prospect of an afterlife would be like living in some vast trust house with nothing to provide relief. That belief in the afterlife was put there by people in power to control you.”
“I still have an awful lot of things to do”
It all seems pretty bleak, the illnesses, the blank atheism and the disgust with modern mores. Why does he keep going at such a furious pace? “It’s awful to give up working,” he says. “You will die on a golf course or end up sat with nothing to do in an old people’s home. Ugh. I think that as long as all these things, the plays, the books, are happening, you don’t remember about your age. I have had times of depression. But I have always had an awful lot of things to do. In my most productive period I was writing and being a barrister at the same time. I used to get up at four in the morning, write a chapter or two, then get up at the Old Bailey and defend someone. Depression comes if I’m bored. So hard work is a form of self-medication.”
And then there’s always Rumpole of the Bailey. “Yeah, there’s another one coming,” Mortimer says. “There’s no plan, but Rumpole is very convenient. Everything the Government is doing, foolish things such as Asbos, you can have a Rumpole book about it. You just have to wait for the next subject to come along – and they come along pretty quickly.”

Marlborough 102-year-old still loves a fag
17th February 2009
By Nigel Kerton »
At the age of 102 great grandmother Bet Winder who lives in a Marlborough care home still enjoys the occasional cigarette and likes a glass of sherry.
Mrs Winder was joined by three more generations of her family on Monday to celebrate her 102nd birthday.
She is the oldest resident in Coombe End Court in London Road and all the others joined in a party and shared the cake made in the home’s own kitchen by Andrea Cartwright.
Relatives who visited her on Monday included her daughter Lizanne Ware who lives in Pewsey; grand daughter Haldene Hartley, great grand children Megan and Isaac Hartley, sister in law Marguerite Radford and niece Linda Radford.
Mrs Winder is generally in good health, said her daughter, although she has become hard of hearing and has difficulty seeing.
She still enjoys a cigarette every day or two and, although it goes against her doctor’s orders, still likes a glass of sherry.
Her half-century habit of enjoying a cigarette — she started smoking when she was 50 — certainly did not seem to have affected her lung capacity because with a couple of big breaths Mrs Winder was able to blow out the candles on her cake that spelled out her age.
On her centenary she told the Gazette: “I still smoke and drink; perhaps that is why I have lived to 100.”
Mrs Winder spent most of her life in Devon until moving to Wiltshire to be near her daughter.
Her late husband who died in 1987 was a police officer in Devon for more than 30 years and as a policeman’s wife she helped run the village police stations where they lived..
Home for most of her married life was a succession of police stations in Devon including five years in Paignton during the war years when there were many evacuee children in the town.
Mrs Winder has a son living in Australia who she has visited on four occasions, the last time when she was 96.
She is the last surviving member of a family of eight and she still enjoys knitting.
The Anzac Belles women singers from Devizes entertained at her party.


Old Ned’s still in top gear for his 108th milestone
Lisa Kenyon
20/ 6/2008
A PENSIONER believed to be East Lancashire’s oldest man has celebrated his 108th birthday.
Netherwood “Ned” Hughes, of Woodlands Home for the Elderly in Clayton-le-Moors, where he has lived for five years, reached the landmark birthday last Thursday and shows no signs of slowing down.
He was born to optician father John and Scottish mother Robina, in Lord Street, Great Harwood, on 12 June, 1900.
His earliest memory is of the Baptist Church in Great Harwood when he heard the noise of the builder’s trowels working on the building.
He spent most of his working life as a motor mechanic. While working as a delivery driver in 1917, Ned was one of the youngest drivers of a heavy goods vehicle and was one of the first people to be fined for breaking the 15mph speed limit.
In 1918 he was called up to serve in the First World War along with all the other drivers in England.
Following the war, he returned to England where he worked as a bus driver and set up business as a greengrocer in Wallasey before returning to Great Harwood to work for thr Bristol Aerospace Company, which later became British Aerospace.
Ned, who was the middle child of seven brothers and sisters, married twice, but is now a widower.
Manager Gail Heaney said: “He’s the oldest resident we have had at the home.
“He’s in very good health and he’s very friendly. He loves his pipe, the odd tot of whisky and chatting with the young girls. They all have a good laugh with him.
“Although he has no children of his own, his nephews often visit him.
“He used to enjoy walking in Great Harwood but he now likes sitting in the grounds smoking his pipe.
“He’s got lots of cards and a telegram from the Queen again.
“Every year he says: ‘She has the same frock on’.”

Birthday girl reaches 109
    
LAURA BAGSHAW
03 January 2008
SHE has spanned three centuries, been a subject of six monarchs and has seen the birth of every major invention and trend in the last 100 years.
And as one of Britain’s oldest people celebrated her 109th birthday last Friday at Park House residential home in Great Yarmouth, she put her astonishing longevity down to playing the tambourine, supporting the Salvation Army and drinking fruit juice.
Hilda Newson, who is only two years younger than the country’s oldest woman, was born in the same year as War of the Worlds was published, radium was discovered and the country saw the first person killed in a car accident.
Miss Newson, who was born in the resort and worked in the town’s once-thriving fishing industry, has now had 10 birthday cards from the Queen.
Miss Newson, who never married, also seems to defy current health advice about cigarettes as she admits to smoking 40 a day until she was 85.
And the secret of long life must be in Miss Newson’s family as both her mother and sister lived to see their 100th birthdays.
She said: ?I do not take any pills or drugs and still play the tambourine. My favourite meals are roast dinners and chicken and I enjoy a fruit juice with my meals. I used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day but gave it up 24 years ago when I was 85.?
Miss Newson was one of eight children. She repaired and made fishing nets and still supports her beloved Salvation Army.
She can still recall how floodwater reached the light switches at her Queens Road home during the Yarmouth floods of 1953.
Miss Newson enjoys the regular sing-a-long sessions held at the care home and she can often be seen playing her tambourine.
Her best friend at the home is 106-year-old Lois Evans.
Her niece, 72-year-old Pauline Newson, said: ?Hilda is an amazing lady who still enjoys singing and playing the tambourine.
It is difficult to believe she is 109 years old and I am wondering if she is going to outlive me.?
Britain’s oldest woman is 111-year-old Florence Baldwin of Leeds.
First world war veteran Henry Allingham is the country’s oldest man, also aged 111.

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